By Kat Russell
STAMFORD — Surprises — pleasant ones, anyway — often come in the form of a party, a visitor or an unexpected windfall. But a surprise baby?
That’s exactly how Farah Hage-Sleiman and her fiance, Derek Roy, took the news that they were minutes away from becoming parents — the couple had no idea Hage-Sleiman was pregnant.
“It was a complete shock,” Hage-Sleiman said. “I really had no idea I was pregnant.”
“I was having what I thought were stomach cramps, and then suddenly I felt like I had wet my pants,” she said. Not suspecting Hage-Sleiman had just gone into labor, the couple headed home so she could clean up and rest.
“I’m in the military, and I volunteer with the Belltown fire house, so I know what an emergency sounds like, and this was like a sound I’d never heard before,” Roy said.
The couple rushed to the emergency room at Stamford Hospital, where they were informed of their impending parenthood.
“I was like, ‘You’re joking, right?” ’ Hage-Sleiman said.
“It was scary,” she said. “After it sunk in that I’m having a baby, then all these really scary questions and thoughts started popping into my head. Is he healthy? Is he going to be OK? I started replaying the last seven or eight months in my head. What did I eat? What did I do? Did I do anything that could have hurt him?”
In hindsight, Hage-Sleiman said she’d been experiencing symptoms for months: She was gaining weight, she was emotional, her feet were swelling, she was having stomach trouble and her skin was breaking out, but the couple attributed most of what she was feeling to stress.
“I just graduated from law school in May and started a new job; we’re planning a wedding; we just bought a house and a car — I mean, we have a lot of stressful things going on in our lives right now,” she said. “It never occurred to me that any of my symptoms were related. I looked at each one individually.”
Hage-Sleiman said she was taking birth-control medication, so pregnancy was the furthest thing from her mind.
“I explained a lot of what I was feeling away,” she said. “My stomach felt really full or bloated, but I have a lot of food allergies, so it’s not unusual for my stomach to be slightly distended. I did feel movement in my stomach, but I chocked that up to digestive issues or gas. I was emotional and my skin was breaking out, but I figured I was just stressed with all the changes taking place in our lives. And yes, I had gained some weight, but it wasn’t a lot and I gained most of it on my sides, so again, I figured stress.”
Hage-Sleiman saw a series of doctors — a gastroenterologist, a podiatrist, a dermatologist and a therapist — none of whom connected her symptoms or suggested she was pregnant.
“It’s definitely uncommon, but it does happen,” said Dr. Scott Chudnoff, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stamford Hospital. In his 18 years as an obstetrician, Chudnoff said he has seen five or six women deliver full-term babies without knowing they were pregnant.
Chudnoff said there are a few common circumstances in which a woman might not realize early on that she is pregnant.
“If a woman is using contraception or maybe doesn’t have a regular period, she might not think the symptoms she is experiencing are due to pregnancy,” he said. “The same could be said of a woman who is not regularly sexually active.”
Read full article at: Stamford Advocate